ditch,

the poetry that matters

Patrick Barron

Patrick Barron is an assistant professor of English at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. He was recently awarded the Rome Prize, a Fulbright, and a National Endowment for the Arts grant for his translations of the work of Italian poet, Andrea Zanzotto. His books include Italian Environmental Literature: An Anthology (2003) and The Selected Poetry and Prose of Andrea Zanzotto (2007). His poetry, essays, and translations have appeared or are forthcoming in journals such as Poetry East, Ecopoetics, Two Lines, Paideuma, Softblow, and The Argotist Online.

1.

 

Mellifluous redolences

                    spores redux

          axes of flowers

                        pollen’s traces

       everywhere

              biological talk

 

“let’s put it all on the table”

                

—discussion nixed

 

  who can fathom

  this arrogant discourse

         lost in itself

         in all that

                  outside

in nonhuman gyres

    ordinary blossoms

crisscrossing tracks

                      of tendrils

a flurry of wings

                 evidence overlooked

beyond the margins

of the built

          sometimes within the built

  sometimes the built

 

such crafting-distracting talk

 

                      who will

                              would

                        listen

                               if

 

.   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .

.   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .

 

2.

 

Mentions

       meditations

a bit of pollen

              grasps it all

in loosening

           loses track

as seeds

           burst furrows

of other seeds

           in an orgy of seeds

            and seed casings

    fruit and fodder

  climb the walls

indicate

                the obfuscated

                             obvious

tendril in hand

     a tiny tickling

communicant

with roots

        meters      upon      meters

 

.   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .

.   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .

 

3.

 

Vespers

          vigils

  of kempt

fields

  unkempt

woods

          hushed whispers

          preindustrial fibers

         filigrees of stuff

  we were once

  made of

then again

         harpsichord serenades

         cicadas

           serendipitous

   THUNDERINGS

storms in the distance

cloudycoolweather

  and gusts always

  gusts

of what

the hill or sky

provides

       it is thus

that systems and fidelities

the vast realm of spirits

  living and dead

  are knitted together

in a weave

       always frayed

fraying

  of splotchy vision

      sun and shade

inside the eye

 

.   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .

.   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .

 

4.

 

Isolated terraces

           stone by stone

   inscriptions

                decisions

                         a measure made

   of a careful fitting

                edge to edge

        a little leaking allowed

                        permission given

to weep

          lattices of granite

                                 and rain

some polished perspiration

    rationed breath

                      skinned knuckles

   muscled meaning

       dribblings of dirt

tangled paths of chlorophyll

               envisioned

               driven

   plants’ thrust

               thirst

dusty flesh

              fingernails

                             black

all that beneath buried

rock

        insects’ secret tailings

microbes and strings-ings

   of tiny cells

                      lashings

                      leavings

          —a flea-bitten cat—

“food food”

   feelers all extended

   breath that beseeches

ruffles 

          the consciences

of the dining audience

          practice, practice

and underneath it all

    ossuaries

           tunnels ready

on the alert

          to swallow

              wallow

boar-like

          the muck of rooted ages

snouts out

       eyes that pry

                      investigate

       by now inscrutable

   tunnels inside paths

                          pathos

       the stretch

             stench that never says when

appearances

apparatus

             near to ear-inklings

   a burst of minimal, minimal

exhalations

almost gapings

   exclaim

   consider

       in readings

writings

writhings

       the wonder

             utter undulation

   a need to disrupt

                   recraft

                   envision

                   comprehend again

a certain whittling down

         elements of birth

                             basics

   the original chaos

 

.   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .

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